Coya Therapeutics has announced positive data from a small trial in Alzheimer’s disease as the company looks to build out its neurodegenerative disease platform.

In an 8-patient open label study, COYA-301 generated an anti-inflammatory response and halted decline in cognitive function. Houston Methodist Research Institute conducted the academic study.

With early positive data in hand, Coya will consider partnering with another pharma company to co-develop COYA-301 as a combination therapy in Alzheimer’s, CEO Howard Berman told Clinical Trials Arena. COYA-301 is a low-dose interleukin-2 (IL-2), which could work in tandem with another anti-inflammatory agent, he explained.

In the meantime, Berman said Coya’s primary focus will be to develop COYA-302 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Coya previously announced plans to initiate a new trial of COYA-302 in ALS later this year following positive data from a four-patient trial.

COYA-301 in Alzheimer’s disease

COYA-301 could enhance regulatory T cell (Treg) function and expand Treg numbers, which could suppress inflammation driving Alzheimer’s disease pathology. In the open-label trial, COYA-301 restored peripheral Treg function and numbers and lowered pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.

However, COYA-301 only appears to result in a modest suppression of myeloid cells, which also contribute to neuroinflammation, Berman said. As a result, COYA-301 would work well as a combination with therapies able to target these cells, he noted.

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Berman said that although the early-stage trial lacked a placebo arm, the data suggests that COYA-301’s effect on Tregs could slow or stop cognitive decline. “The Treg story is a critically important story in neurodegenerative diseases,” he added.